What Are the Qualifications for Unemployment in Louisiana?
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If you have ever asked yourself, “What are the requirements to get unemployment in Louisiana?” you are not alone. The Louisiana state unemployment insurance (UI) program serves to provide unemployed residents with financial assistance after a job loss.
This aid program is only meant to be temporary, and in order to claim it, unemployed residents must meet certain qualifications for unemployment benefits set forth by the state.
- Federal Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
- How to Claim Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
- Louisiana Unemployment Benefits and Federal Income Taxes
- Continued Eligibility for Claiming Benefits for Unemployment
The unemployment insurance program is paid for by employers at no cost to workers. Read through the following sections to learn how to qualify for unemployment in Louisiana.
Louisiana Unemployment Resources
Federal Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
Unemployed workers can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, but those having difficulty finding a job can apply for a Louisiana unemployment benefits extension. Unemployment Benefits are measured during a 52-week calendar year, and recipients will only be able to receive a predetermined, maximum amount of benefit weeks during this time.
If you exceed your maximum before the 52-week period is over, and you still have not found full-time employment, you must wait until the next calendar year to file a new unemployment benefits claim. If you receive any of the following types of payments from your previous job, it will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount:
If you fail to report these payments to the state, you could end up having to pay back some or all of the benefits that you received.
In Louisiana, all employers are required to report their employees’ wages four times a year (quarterly). When an applicant first files a claim, the state will not take his or her current earnings or wages from the previous quarter (lag quarter) into consideration. The state will only consider the wages that you earned in the four quarters before the lag quarter.
Your employer must also have paid into the federal unemployment benefits fund during that time, and if you are self-employed or your employer failed to pay, you will be ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.
Louisiana imposes a weekly limit on the financial aid amount that unemployed workers can receive. Workers who are eligible for benefits are entitled to receive a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $247, each week. Your specific aid amount will be determined using a set formula, and you must file an unemployment benefits claim each week in order to continue to receive aid. After filing a claim, workers will receive a determination letter in the mail, detailing the monetary amount they are eligible to receive.
In order to continue claiming benefits, the state must determine that you meet the standards below:
- You earned at least $1200 in wages before the lag quarter.
- The total amount that you earned before the lag quarter is equal to or greater than one and a half times your highest wage amount (high quarter).
- You continue to meet the eligibility standards each week.
How to Claim Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana
Unemployed residents wondering how to claim unemployment benefits in Louisiana should know that they can apply for unemployment either online or over the phone. If you elect to file an unemployment benefits claim online through the state HiRE portal, you will be able to automatically submit application to the state database for review.
If you wish to file a claim over the phone, you must call the Louisiana Workforce Commission and answer a series of questions. Be sure to have your social security number, banking information (for direct deposit), and past income and employment information within reach before you start an application.
When filing an application, workers can choose to receive their unemployment benefits in the form of a state-issued debit card or direct deposit. Direct deposit is the most popular method, and it gives recipients faster access to their funds. It is the responsibility of the beneficiary to inform the bank of their decision to use direct deposit.
Individuals who prefer a debit card will receive their funds in the mail, and the card will remain active for three years. You can change the way you wish to claim unemployment benefits at any time by logging onto your HiRE account or by calling your local Louisiana Department of Labor office.
Louisiana Unemployment Benefits and Federal Income Taxes
Recipients of LA federal unemployment benefits must record the full monetary amount that they receive each week as taxable income. Unlike your employers, the government does not automatically withhold funds from the unemployment benefits you receive each week, so you will need to make quarterly estimated tax payments.
If you prefer to have your taxes deducted right away, the state allows recipients to have at least 10 percent of their weekly benefit amount withheld if they wish to avoid making estimated payments. The state will provide you with the necessary tax form (IRS 1099-G), and if you wish to change your withholding option at any time, you must call the state Department of Labor directly.
Continued Eligibility for Claiming Benefits for Unemployment
To continue claiming benefits for unemployment in Louisiana, you must meet eligibility standards each week, including:
- Recording at least three job contacts
- Registering for work with the state
- Reporting any job offers and refusals
- Being available for full-time work